Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun mystery with characters I’ve missed
Cons: Needed a final edit
The Bottom Line:
Its anchors away
For guest at inn. So good to
Oh Captain, Dead Captain
I’ve been reading and loving Karen MacInerney’s Gray Whale Inn series book one came out. Over the last few years, she’s taken a break from Natalie and crew for a couple of new series, which are also great. But when she announced that Whale of a Crime would return us to Cranberry Island, I was thrilled.
If you’ve missed this series, Natalie runs a bed and breakfast on an island off the coast of Maine. The only way on and off Cranberry Island is by boat, although the island does have a small community made up mostly of artists and fisherman. But that remoteness doesn’t keep murder at bay since this is the seventh novel in the series.
It’s summer, and the Gray Whale Inn is bursting. A tour group is using it as their home base, and Natalie has agreed to provide lunch and dinner in addition to the usual breakfast for these guests. The group is led by Captain Bainbridge, who seems to have issues with his first mate, Martina, and the naturalist, Alex, who has been hired to help lead the group.
When no one can find the captain one morning, the first mate decides to take the group out on her own. However, when the ship’s anchor is raised, they find Captain Bainbridge. He’s been tied to the anchor. The police immediately zero in on Alex, who maintains his innocence as does his new girlfriend, Natalie’s best friend Charlene, the post mistress and general store owner on the island. Natalie is inclined to believe Alex is innocent as well, but then does that mean she has a killer staying at the inn? Or is one of the other island residents a murderer?
The book also has several sub-plots, the strongest being a visit from Natalie’s sister, Bridget. Natalie’s niece, Gwen, has been a main character through the series, and she has made a life for herself on the island. Bridget is there to talk some sense into Gwen since Bridget doesn’t approve of Gwen’s plans to marry a local and stay on the island.
I bring this up because I did feel the sub-plots were a tad stronger than the mystery early on in the book, but as we went along, that easily switched and the mystery became the main focus. Not that I minded. As I said, I love these characters, so I was intrigued by the sub-plots and this next chapter in their lives. The way Natalie puts everything together at the end is wonderful, and the climax is perfect for this book.
Of course, any series that would pull me in for seven books has to have characters I love, and that is certainly the case here as I think I’ve already mentioned. I was delighted to be back in the presence of Natalie, her new husband, Gwen, Gwen’s fiancé, Charlene, Eli, and the rest of the regulars. The new characters are distinct and memorable as well.
Sadly, this book needed a good final edit. I know my grammar isn’t perfect (and let’s not get started on my spelling), so I am willing to forgive a few lapses in the book. This had more than the handful I’m willing to let slide. The book is definitely still readable, and fans of the author and series will be more than willing to overlook these mistakes.
With all of Natalie’s baking and cooking, this book will have your mouth watering. Fortunately, we get seven recipes at the end of the book, including recipes for things such as beef stroganoff, blueberry cobbler muffins, and salted caramel chocolate chip bars.
It truly was a delight to be back at the Gray Whale Inn, and Whale of a Crime was over all too quickly. Here’s hoping that Karen finds the time to work in another visit to her already busy writing schedule sooner rather than later.
If you haven't met Natalie, you really need to read the rest of the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries.